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Nicholas French


Antitrust and competition | Financial services | Foreign direct investment and national security | Investigations | Mergers and acquisitions |

His organisational skills are excellent and his analytical skills are exceptional... he is very strategic and knows what is best to protect the business

Chambers and Partners 2014

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About Nicholas French

Nick is a London-based partner in the firm’s European antitrust, competition and trade law practice. 

Nick has a broad-based competition practice spanning various sectors, including particular expertise in financial services (he has advised clients on some of the biggest and most complex global antitrust investigations into the sector since the Financial Crisis in 2008, and assumed a temporary role as Global Head of Competition in a major investment and retail bank in 2018) and utility regulation.

Notable work in the past twelve months includes advising Yorkshire Water on Ofwat’s five year price review; advising Sanrio (of Hello Kitty and Mister Men fame) on the European Commission’s investigation into cross-border licensing, which will help shape Commission policy on e-commerce activity in Europe in the coming decade; and Saputo Inc.’s acquisition of UK dairy major, Dairy Crest.

Nick advises clients on securing merger clearances for cross-border M&A transactions and joint ventures, including on issues of national security; providing guidance on alliances and co-operation arrangements and distribution networks; advising companies in international and domestic cartel and other conduct-related investigations; and helping guide regulated companies through sectoral regulators’ reviews and inquiries, in particular in the water and telecoms sectors. 

As well as advising clients on EU and UK competition law matters, Nick’s practice draws heavily on Asian competition law, having been based in, and worked extensively in, Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo during the past decade. Nick has also worked in the firm’s Brussels office.

Recent work

  • Advising Air China on the formation of its air cargo airline joint venture with Cathay Pacific Airways, which involved co-ordination of Chinese and European merger clearance applications.
  • Advising Diageo on its acquisition of Chinese spirits manufacturer Sichuan Chengdu Quanxing Group, which involved novel issues and required complex solutions to achieve Chinese merger clearance.
  • Advising Geely Auto on its acquisition of Volvo Cars, including the co-ordination of its global merger filings for that transaction – one of the first very large private outbound deals from China into Europe.